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Juvenile gull ID (aargh) - halp! (San Francisco, CA, USA, 2013) (1 Viewer)

andrewslack

Well-known member
I'm going through some photos from 2013 trying to pin down IDs. Predictably the gulls are proving hard. Can anyone help?

This is obviously a juvenile bird, but what seems unusual compared to most images I can find, is how uniformly dark it is, brown on the back but not mottled and almost sooty on the front. The plain colouring made me wonder about a young Heermann's but the bill is the wrong colour as far as I can tell from reading. The most likely seems to be Western Gull or American Herring Gull but I can't find an image of one that dark, and something about the head shape makes me think Glaucous Winged, but I really am kind of useless with gulls. Unfortunately I have no other pictures.

Can anyone ID it, preferably with reasoning to help me learn. Many thanks!
 

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andrewslack

Well-known member
It's still a young Herrmann's.
Thanks very much. Not to argue, but is there any specific feature that makes it that in spite of the non two-tone bill? Is any one that uniformly dark going to be a Heermann's? I have a few others from later dates but they do have the faintest hints of paler bits on their bills.
 

rkj

Well-known member
Yes, anything that uniformly dark is going to be a young Heermann's. The only thing that comes even remotely close in the SF area would be a young Western Gull, but that would be less dark, mottled, and have a much thicker bill.
 

lou salomon

the birdonist
Thanks very much. Not to argue, but is there any specific feature that makes it that in spite of the non two-tone bill? Is any one that uniformly dark going to be a Heermann's? I have a few others from later dates but they do have the faintest hints of paler bits on their bills.
andrew, this bird actually has a paler base to bill, you just have to look more closely. at the beginning (a few weeks after fledging) this pale base isn't that obvious, but gets paler the older it grows. another rel. fresh juvenile from the seaside colony: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DvDX87oUUAAW2CN?format=jpg&name=4096x4096
 

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